What is Bovine Collagen?

Photo of author

By Meghan Stoops, RDN

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated

what is bovine collagen

Chances are, you’ve seen collagen floating around as an ingredient in supplements and various foods. Collagen is an essential protein found in the human body and is one of the main building blocks for our skin, bones, tendons, ligaments, and more. 

Although our body can create its own collagen, we can also get it from our diet. Eating certain foods can help boost collagen production, such as chicken, fish, eggs, citrus fruits, berries, beans, cashews, and bone broth, along with many others.

There are over 20 different types of collagens found in the human body, each providing different benefits and functions from the other. The most common types of collagens include collagen I, II, III, and IV.

Over recent years, collagen has become popular in the health and wellness community because of its myriad of benefits. Some of these include improving the elasticity and hydration of your skin, improving joint pain, and boosting muscle mass.

There are several types of collagens, depending on the source it comes from, including bovine, poultry, porcine, and marine. 

What is Bovine Collagen?

Collagen supplements are typically made from a variety of sources however, bovine collagen is among one of the more popular. 

Bovine collagen is derived from bovine animals such as bison, water buffalo, antelope, and cows. Of course, most supplements in the United States are mainly derived from cows.

Bovine collagen is made by taking bones from cattle and boiling them in water to extract the collagen. Once removed, it is then dried into a powdered form where it can be added to various products.

Bovine Collagen vs. Marine Collagen

Bovine collagen comes from cattle whereas marine collagen comes from marine sources such as the skin of various fish. However, the difference between the two is more than just their sources. 

bovine collagen source

Different sources of collagen provide different types and benefits. Research has found marine collagen to help boost collagen I and II in the body whereas bovine collagen helps to boost collagen I and III.

The collagen in our skin is made up of mainly collagen I and III which means bovine collagen may be more useful at helping to improve the look and elasticity of our skin. 

Marine collagen is still being researched however it has shown promise in bone tissue regeneration and wound healing, among other potential benefits.

Benefits of Bovine Collagen

The collagen our body produces declines as we age, leading to skin and joint issues. Supplementing with bovine collagen can help to counteract the side effects of low collagen levels. 

Some of the main benefits of bovine collagen include improving skin elasticity, improving osteoarthritis symptoms, and preventing bone loss from osteoporosis. 

bovine collagen benefits for skin

Although the research is promising, more studies involving human trials are needed to confirm these results.

Bovine Collagen Supplements

Bovine collagen can be found in different forms, including gelatin and hydrolyzed collagen. Gelatin is typically found in food products as a thickening agent, such as Jell-O, marshmallows, and gummy bears, whereas hydrolyzed collagen is most common in collagen supplements. 

Hydrolyzed collagen is more easily absorbed by the body than gelatin. You can find hydrolyzed bovine collagen in the form of powders, tablets, and capsules.

Although bovine collagen supplements are considered generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), no dose has been set for supplemental use. Each supplement will provide instructions for use and dosage on its product.

Always speak with your healthcare provider before adding a supplement into your routine, especially if you take medications for a chronic condition.


Bovine collagen is a popular supplement made by extracting collagen from cows. Consuming bovine collagen can help to boost collage levels in your body which typically decrease as we age. 

Bovine collagen supplementation has been shown to help improve the look and feel of skin along with reducing osteoarthritis and osteoporosis symptoms. 

Bovine collagen supplements are widely available. Although they are considered safe, there is no set effective dose at this time.

Photo of author

Meghan Stoops, RDN

Meghan Stoops is a Registered Dietitian and licensed Nutritionist with a bachelor’s in Dietetics from San Diego State University. Meghan developed an interest in dietetics early on through her own personal struggles with nutrition misinformation. She began doing her own research, which sparked her passion for nutrition and it’s impact on our physical and mental health. Today, she takes take a non-diet, all-foods-fit approach to nutrition, and is devoted to teaching others that eating healthy does not mean restriction or sacrifice.